The Womans’ Home Companion had hairstyles from leading salons illustrated in April of 1937.
These hairdos look very fussy to me — would a lover would ever dare run fingers through them? –and they were probably full of hidden hairpins.
On the theory that product advertisements use models that women can identify with, I browsed through advertisements from 1936 and 1937 in the same magazine, looking for photographs, rather than drawings. Some hairstyles in ads did have this tightly curled and controlled look.
Here, the hair seems to reflect the models’ state of digestion….
One of the models in this ad for Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia [a laxative] is definitely curled “up tight” (constipated hair?)
And so is the mother in this article about hairstyles for mother and daughter:
I get the impression that tightly controlled hair styles were aimed at the sophisticated or “mature” reader. But not necessarily; there’s not a sculptured curl to be seen on these women who are pictured in an ad for Brownatone Hair Dye.
This chic sophisticate has far-from-casual hair…
… compared to this model in the same issue:
Another off-the-face style from later in 1937:
Below, on the right, a group of models as “career girls.”
The Ponds face cream ads showed a series of lovely women; both the debutante and the duchess have loose, fluffy hairstyles:
Colgate ran a series of toothpaste ads featuring women who looked lovely until they smiled.
This Bayer Aspirin ad shows two views of the same headache-sufferer. Did taking an aspirin relax her hair?
As in the ad for Milk of Magnesia, relief and comfort are symbolized by a more natural hairstyle.
Of course, in 1937, a woman’s hairstyle was dictated by the need to wear a hat while shopping or dining in restaurants, so a curl-free area was usual in daytime hairdos.
With the exception of motion picture actresses, the hair is usually worn rather close to the head.
The brushed-back hair of this model could almost pass for a 1950’s style — but it’s from February, 1937, before the “Six Hairdressings” article was written.
The model is far from girlish (and the jewels are from Cartier), but she seems much more “timeless” than Merle Oberon, and miles away from this:
Maybe the ad agencies were more in touch with popular fashion than the editors of Woman’s Home Companion?
Added consideration: One disadvantage of close-to-the-head hairstyles is that, without a hat or fuller hair to balance the width of shoulders and hips, a normal woman can’t come close to the long, lean 1930’s fashion silhouette; this fashion photo from Woman’s Home Companion shows how small the head can look in relation to the figure. [Hair — and shoulders — got much bigger by the forties!]
In the mid-thirties, as photography replaced fashion illustrations in the “women’s magazines,” women had a more realistic image of what was possible.
Instead of adjusting our idea of beauty, the magazines and designers eventually adjusted the height and weight of the models they used.